On an outward-facing wall at the Bortolami booth, two works by Eric Wesley—DPS #36 North American Center (Notes from my Mother) and DPS #34 This is not Trash…well you know what I mean—hang, boasting a modest but wonderfully mundane appeal. Resembling blown-up scraps of paper (the back of a real estate ad, a “daily status progress report”) featuring desultory scatters of notes penciled on the back, the works are actually painted on aluminum and mounted on linen.
“[Wesley] based them on scraps of paper that he’s been saving, and he realized that the compositions just made really unexpected gestures,” said Lola Kramer, associate director.
Smudges of paint or marker, eraser marks, hurried calculations by hand, names of cities, times, and a grocery list embellish the paintings (“BEANS, CARROTS”), encouraging the viewer to recall with fondness all those unloved, coffee-stained, ancillary pieces of junk whose virginal undersides have meekly born our frantic etchings and general rough handling. An oversized sticker, the kind you might have unpeeled from an orange, was included on DPS #34—a rather brilliant touch, I thought.
Said Lola: “He put these pieces of paper on a lightbox, and when you see light shining on a piece of paper, you can see the light shining through and what’s so cool is that he’s accurately able to realize that moment when you see light shining through the page. So everything that was on the reverse comes through to the surface, but when you’re looking at this it looks like you’re looking at a semi-transparent thing, even though it’s all on the surface.”
On what appears to be the back of Wesley’s daily report, the artist has scrawled “NOT TRASH,” a sort of meta-cheer for this year’s Frieze.